The role of host genetics in influenza infection is unclear despite decades of interest. Confounding factors such as age, sex, ethnicity and environmental factors have made it difficult to assess the role of genetics without influence. In recent years a single nucleotide polymorphism, interferon-induced transmembrane protein 3 (IFITM3) rs12252, has been shown to alter the severity of influenza infection in Asian populations. In this review we investigate this polymorphism as well as several others suggested to alter the host's defence against influenza infection. In addition, we highlight the open questions surrounding the viral restriction protein IFITM3 with the hope that by answering some of these questions we can elucidate the mechanism of IFITM3 viral restriction and therefore how this restriction is altered due to the rs12252 polymorphism.
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